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  • Catherine Wedemeier

Breaking up a Hardpan

Breaking up a Hardpan: The definition by Free Dictionary: “A compacted layer of soil that is difficult for roots or water to penetrate. It often forms just below the     depth of plowing, when plowing, year after year, always to the same depth.” For years the study of the soil has focused mainly on the physical and chemical properties…mainly because they could be quantified and then compared to a “need” which could be sold as a product and profited upon. Only recently (12-15 years), has there been a focus upon the third leg of the soil ecology stool-the study of the interactions of complex environments or systems.  An example of this was explained to me as the similarity of Mars and Earth….Both have very similar chemical and physical properties, but the difference is in the biological interaction.  I have been following Ray Archuleta, who is a leading pioneer and promoter of soil as a living, changing organism, for a few years now and we are basing our farming practices on his wisdom and guidance.  Change is not easy in farming because we often “know” what brings success, and sales people use scare tactics, creating doubt that there couldn’t be a better way.  This has been an uphill battle for ecological and biological promoters going against the conventional grain. Just like a soil hardpan, these layers are hard and slow to change …sometimes the hardest hardpan in agriculture is the 6 inches between a farmers ears. Check out Ray on youtube:GFE 2016 - Ray Archuletta "It Starts With theSoil”  His presentation is very simple and easy to understand how soil SHOULD work!!! Link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yExpSwpRkEs  -Farmer Scott

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